A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING
By Max R. Weller
Main Branch Library, 1001 Arapahoe
I heard it in the filthy restroom, next to the filthy showers, at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless this morning; two homeless guys who are apparent newcomers to our fair city this winter were talking less than 10′ from me, and I heard every amazing word . . . Actually, it’s a two-part conspiracy theory. The conspiracy allegations:
1) The Boulder Police are monitoring the computer logins of everyone who uses the Internet at Boulder Public Library, in order to catch homeless people who have outstanding warrants and take them into custody. One guy swore to the other that this is how he was caught by the police officer on duty at BPL; furthermore, he also claimed that BPL staff is cooperating in this Big Brother approach to nabbing fugitives from justice, as well as furnishing info on books checked out by specific individuals to the police without a court order to do so.
2) There is an undercover police officer, dressed like a utility worker, who is walking along Boulder Creek Path near BPL and using an iPad with facial recognition software to find other homeless people with outstanding warrants, so that uniformed officers can jump out of the bushes and take them away to jail.
This is what happens when paranoid folks are released from psychiatric facilities onto the streets — and trusted to keep taking the psych meds prescribed to them. The first thing they do is to STOP taking their meds, and to make matters worse they begin self-medicating with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. It’s sad, and let us NOT forget that these mentally unbalanced homeless men and women are more often the victims of crime than perpetrators of it. They belong in group homes with 24/7 supervision, for their own safety and a better quality of life — not because anybody is out to get them.
I fully realize I was wasting my breath when I butted into the conversation of these two men, suggesting that they should avoid trouble with the law in the first place and that there is no “right” to be a fugitive from justice in any public OR private venue.
As to points #1 and #2 above, I consider them utterly bogus. These smelly bums are petty criminals, NOT international terrorists who require intense scrutiny from law enforcement on the federal level. Listen to ’em long enough, however, you might begin to think that the world revolves around every transient who has failed to appear in municipal court on an illegal camping ticket (or similar petty offense).
The cops, after all, are smart enough to check BSH, Bridge House, and BOHO first to find bums wanted on more serious charges. The temporary patrols of Boulder PD at Boulder Public Library are, instead, meant to deter bad behavior and ensure a more secure experience for other library patrons — including the Homeless Philosopher.
I feel much better this morning, thanks to bismuth subsalicylate. Good enough to have made the long walk across CU’s Norlin Quad to use a public access computer at Norlin Library. And, thank goodness, no sign of the weirdo who has harassed me for staying on the Internet in the absence of anyone else wanting to use it! Only in Boulder.
(Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)
Rain is in the forecast after 9PM tonight, and I welcome a gentle to moderate shower because it refreshes the air and the gentle patter of raindrops on my tarp is very relaxing.
A reminder about the hot fish sandwiches available during the Lenten season at King Soopers deli department on Table Mesa; just $1.99, discounted to $1.50 on Fridays. I plan to have a couple for lunch.
That’s all for now.